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Thought when Ford (F) was halted it might be news of CEO Mulally announcing retirement, which has been in the local papers as rumor. Instead Ford has reinstated their dividend after many lean years.

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  • Ford to pay a quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share
  • Business performance and balance sheet improvements allow Ford to resume regular payments
  • Dividend begins at level sustainable through economic cycles

The Board of Directors of FordMotorCompany today declared a quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share.

We have made tremendous progress in reducing debt and generating consistent positive earnings and cash flow," said Bill Ford , executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. "The board believes it is important to share the benefits of our improved financial performance with our shareholders. We are pleased to reinstate a quarterly dividend, as it is an important sign of our progress in building a profitably growing company and our confidence in the future.

Lewis Booth, Ford executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the company's strong liquidity and balance sheet improvements provide the underlying financial strength to resume paying a quarterly dividend. "Building a strong balance sheet that supports our growth plans remains a core part of our One Ford strategy," said Booth. "We have demonstrated our capability to finance our plans and we are confident that we can begin to pay a dividend that will be sustainable through economic cycles."

The dividend is payable March 1, 2012 , to shareholders of record of Class B and common stock on Jan. 31, 2012 .

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Obviously it's not been a good road here for the stock despite improving auto sales in the U.S. - a lot of auto dealership stocks are making 52 week highs so the action in the Ford and General Motors (GM) of late versus the dealership stocks is striking.

Disclosure: No position

Source: Ford Halted, Reinstates Dividend